Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Baby it's cold outside!

This morning's run was pretty cold. Weather.com said it was 18 degrees F with a 12 mph wind, which put the wind chill in the single digits!

But it was so pretty, I stayed out for an hour and got six miles in.

Look at that sky! The wind was a little challenging but when you prepare properly it's no big deal.

I've got to say, I'm a huge fan of wool. I can't wait for my wool tights to be delivered. That material really does make a difference.

I saw a guy I didn't recognize running on Sunday, and I saw another new guy out running this morning.

Today's guy looked like a new runner, and it made me glad to see him out when the weather was so horrible.

If you look closely, you can see Jack Frost gave me some eyelash extensions! LOL!

Tomorrow's forecast is not looking good either. The temperature is supposed to be 8 degrees, with a wind chill below zero! And it's not supposed to get much warmer the rest of the week.

Don't get me wrong though, this isn't a complaint. I love winter! And it's been so long since it seems we've had a real one around here. Now if only Pennsylvania would share some of that snow they got I'd be happy!

I'll end with a photo of a building which caught my eye on my run this morning.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Winter is here

Last week was a little rough.

Not sure if I came down with a little cold, or if I hurt something; but something was just a little off. So I took it easy.

The weather took a serious turn for the colder but I still had some good runs. We finally got some snow!

Saturday was my birthday, I took a short run then my Beloved and I drove down to Joplin.

On the way down I thought about how I'd always wanted to visit a casino to see what all the fuss was about. There's one just outside Joplin and we headed there first.

I took in $20 and the casino gave me around $12 for my birthday. Mostly I played the penny slots, and I walked out with about $80. It as kinda fun, next time though I'm going to have to try the Texas Hold 'Em.

I found an outstanding book recently. It's titled "Run Gently Out There." It's by an ultrarunner. I'm nothing close to an ultrarunner, but his writing is incredible.

I love reading about running, but I have to admit most running books are kinda dry. Paces and VO2max and lactic threshhold.

His writing on the other hand is mostly about the places and people he encounters on the run. And it's very well done.

Also I have officially discovered wool. I bought a SmartWool PhD running zip top. And it is incredible! I love it.

I've never really felt cold on the run, despite running near zero occasionally. But there is a different feel to wool than the technical clothes I've had up till now.

I like it so much I went right out and bought two pairs of their tights too. I'll let you know what I think when they get delivered.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Exciting news

I was so stoked to get an email from the good folks at Honey Stinger welcoming me to the Hive Ambassador program for 2018!

I've been using Honey Stinger to fuel my running this past year and I really like it. So I'm excited to be able to promote their products in a slightly more official manner. 😀

Monday, December 11, 2017

Quick start week 6

So I'm going into week 6 of my quick start weight loss.

Here was my weigh in this morning.

I've lost almost two percent body fat. And that makes me happy, but I had kinda figured on being further down than that at this point.

Granted this has not been easy. Trying to do this over the holidays has been even worse.

There is food everywhere!

But I am making progress. And I am thankful for that.

I've got two more weeks before I'm supposed to start the training cycle for my next race, but maybe I'll put off the spring race and focus on getting lean.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

That last five percent

One of my goals for this year was to get down to 12 percent body fat.

All year long though I've been hovering right around the 17 percent mark. I became very focused on my running and didn't give so much thought to weight-loss.

I realized though that I've got about eight weeks until my next training cycle begins so I thought about making a more concerted effort to lose these last few pounds.

I've been reading Matt Fitzgerald's books on nutrition and he had published a "Quick Start" guide for dropping a few pounds quickly. So I bought a copy from Google Books.

His training plan rests on three main facets: calorie deficit with a high percentage of protein, hill repeats and strength training.

I began the program Monday and my official weigh-in showed 177.6 pounds and 18 percent body fat.

I did have to adjust my diet a little to accommodate the calorie deficit and the higher protein levels. But I'm really enjoying the meals we've had so far.

Monday's lunch was salmon, snap peas and a sweet potato. We've also discovered pork tenderloin. We've been wanting to try it, but just hadn't ever gotten around to it.

Like I said, he's real into the hill repeats. Thankfully there are lots of great hills around town!

The really high protein intake was a bit of a challenge. I couldn't figure out how to get it up that high without going over my calorie limit. But Fitzgerald recommends protein shakes. I tried one brand about a year ago and couldn't stomach the stuff.

I bought a can of Equate protein mix though, and this stuff I really like!

I also found these protein bars without many calories and zero sugar.

So far I like the plan very much, I feel good. I'm not terribly hungry. And I've really been meaning to work on my strength training anyway, this gives me a good framework to follow.

Also this past week, I got a new piece of gear!

It's the Ultraspire Spry 2.0. I've been thinking about a hydration vest for a while so I can carry more water and supplies as my runs get longer.

I really liked what I'd seen about this model, and when I saw it on Amazon for $33 I couldn't resist and bought one.

The weather here has been very cool lately, which has given us a very brilliant display of fall colors. I haven't seen them like this in quite some time. It's beautiful. Here's a shot from this morning's run.

I'll keep you all updated how the weight loss goes!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Hanson's Method review

Well, you can definitely count me a Hanson's convert!

I only began running a little more than two years ago. I ran my first ever half marathon last April. I finished in 2:11:33. For that race, I used one of Garmin's heart rate plans. But it left me like I could've done more. And I felt like I hurt too long after the race, as if I wasn't fully prepared.

I signed up to race the half at the KC Marathon which was Oct. 21. When I began training for it, I started out using the same plan from Garmin still thinking I wanted something different. I did that plan for about a week and a half before deciding I wanted/needed something more. I had checked out the Hansons book from the library earlier this year and had been lurking these groups so I went ahead and ordered the book for myself and printed one of the free calendars from the website.

I had to skip the first week or so of the calendar because of the time frame but I'd gotten my mileage up to about 20 per week so I just jumped right in. I really want to break 2 hours on a half marathon but I thought that might be a little ambitious so I set up my paces for a 2:05 finish time. The first couple weeks really kicked my rear end, but I could really feel a difference too.

So I stuck with it. Other than having to jump in late, I missed only 3-4 workouts. I debated starting out with the 2-hour pace group, but I decided since I'd trained for 2:05 that was who I'd stick with. But I realized about a mile in that I was feeling really good and I wanted to give more, so I ignored the pace band the rest of the race and ran by feel.

I finished in 2:02:31 and I am super happy. It was warmer than usual, pretty humid and very windy. Plus the Kansas City course is really challenging (ie- hilly!). But it was a beautiful race, and I had a blast! Now to figure out training paces for that sub-2!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Stuffed winter squash

I decided once a week I would cook dinner.

The first week I just made spaghetti, but this week I settled on a recipe in the current issue of Runner's World magazine.

It's winter squash stuffed with quinoa, tomatoes and corn.

I had fun making it, and it was delicious.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

KC Marathon 2017

On Saturday, Oct. 21, I ran my second half marathon at the Kansas City Marathon. And I had a blast!

My Beloved and I booked a hotel room right at the start/finish and made a little run-cation out of it.

We took off work Friday and drove up early so we could get checked in and take a long look at the expo.

While at the expo, we visited with the Saucony rep at the Run816 booth and we each bought our next pairs of shoes.

My Beloved went for a pair of Freedoms and I got another set of Rides.

When we got done looking around there, we did a little sight-seeing. KC has an awesome newish street car that I had yet to ride so we had to check it out.

After that we had dinner at a nice Italian place called Milano's at Crown Center then went back to the room. This was the view from our room that evening.

Isn't that incredible? I love KC!

We didn't sleep very well that night, I get so excited the night before a race like this.

Also I'd adjusted my nutrition plan a bit since my first half back in April. This time around I woke up around 2 a.m. and had a bagel with peanut butter and banana. I think it definitely helped.

My start time was a little after 7 a.m., so we were up and at it by 5:30. We got ready and headed to the start line.

It was blustery and felt pretty chilly, but I knew it'd warm up when we started running.

After the anthem and some fireworks, we were off!

I had a little debate with myself whether I should stick with the 2:05 I trained for or push for that sub-2. Instagram unanimously voted I should try for the sub-2, but I decided I should stick with what I trained for.

About a mile in though, I realized that purposely holding myself back was just as stupid as pushing myself too hard. So I left the pace group and ran by feel.

I wasn't planning on taking my phone out for any pictures, but it's so easy to access it with the Nathan VaporKrar pack and there were so many great scenes I couldn't resist, so I did snap a few.

It was mostly cloudy that morning, but as I came up this hill the sun peaked out and hit these trees with changing leaves.

There were several live bands along the way and it was great to hear their music while I ran.

And I'm so happy the race photographers got several good photos of me as I was running.

I had such a great race, my time was 2:02:31. I felt like I gave all I had to give.

However, this past week I have not hurt nearly as bad as I did after my first half last spring. I really credit the different training program for that. My first half I was following Garmin's heart rate plan, which was a fine plan I just don't think it fully prepared me for what I wanted to do. This time around I followed the Hanson's Method which I loved and I think did a much more thorough job. I will talk more about the Hanson's plan in an upcoming post.

The Kansas City race was such a great race! It was so beautiful. Yes, it was challenging, look at these hills!

And the wind was blowing steady in our faces for a good portion of the middle of the race. But I LOVED it! I can't wait to do it again.

Maybe next time I can crack that sub-2 hour mark.

I had planned to go from here to the full marathon distance. But I've had a couple thoughts on that.

First, I love the half marathon. It's the most popular distance for good reason. It's enough distance it really requires effort. But not so much as to interfere with the rest of a person's life. Which is what I fear training for a marathon would require of me at this point.

Secondly, I think my body is telling me I need a few more halves before trying to tackle a full. I didn't hurt nearly as much after this one as I did my first, but I did still hurt a little. And I think it will be wise to have more preparation before making the jump to full.

I'll leave you with a little video I put together of our trip.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Band on the Run part deux

Two years ago when I started running, I didn't have any intention of signing up for any races.

But in September 2015 the local high school held the Band on the Run 5k about the time I finished the C25k program. So I decided to sign up for it.

Here I am at the starting line of that race. I weighed 230 pounds. I finished in 33:54, and that hurt!

They didn't hold the race in 2016, but a couple weeks ago they announced they would run it this year.

I told myself I wasn't going to run it, my training plan called for a 12-mile long run that day. But when I woke up yesterday morning, I just had to!

Here I am before the race yesterday. I weigh 175.

Here we are getting ready for the start!

Here I am crossing the finish line. My watch said 24:25! I am so happy!

My time was good enough to get me first place in my age group!

Running has changed my life. The progress I've made over the past two years blows my mind.

I really hope I can make running my life, helping others find the joy in it that I've found.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Labor Day weekend

This past weekend was Labor Day weekend, where we celebrate working by not working! LOL!

We went to Kansas City primarily so my Beloved could spend some time with her sister.

But I had to go running of course.

Saturday we took out on a nice trail near her sister's house about sunrise, it was very nice.

Later that day we went out and did some shopping. I got a nice photo of the carousel at the mall.

Sunday morning I found out the nice folks at Run 816 were hosting a free group run of 11 miles through downtown Kansas City. So I had to take part in that.

There was a good number of folks who showed up for the run. I wish I had talked to more people, but I'm not very outgoing (working on it though!)

I really wanted to just run, but the photographer in me couldn't help but make some pictures.

I did fall in and get to meet Sarah and Emily when I got a little confused as to which way I should run. Thanks again for letting me run with you all!

The run went along the riverfront too, it was spectacular!

This is the ASB Bridge, the lower deck is for trains and the upper deck used to carry cars. The upper deck is no longer in use but trains still go over the lower. And it's a draw bridge! Those big rectangular blocks are weights. The lower deck rises straight up into the upper so tall barges can pass underneath. Here's a video of it in action on YouTube!

Going up the stairs I was surprised to find folks have been putting love locks on the fence. I knew people do that in Paris and such didn't think anyone would do it here!

My half marathon is a little more than a month away. And I'm very excited.

My Beloved decided to register for the 5k, I'm so proud of her!

We decided to book a room at the hotel right near the starting line so we won't have to get up so early on race day. We can just walk right outside to the race!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hanson's Half-Marathon Training

I'm several weeks into the Hanson's Half-Marathon training plan and I thought I'd give my thoughts on it thus far.

Basically, my thoughts are that it is much much higher mileage.

And I like it. I really really like it. Every run now is more than 5 miles, and many are 8 or more. My long runs are up to 10-12 miles.

I went from 20-mile weeks to 40 miles plus! I LOVE IT!

The Garmin heart-rate plan which I did for my first half was adequate. But I always thought I wanted to do more mileage. The training never really challenged me, it never really hurt. But after the race, I hurt quite badly. I was pretty worried at one point.

The Hanson's training is challenging, and it hurts sometimes. So my hope is that by hurting some now, it will hurt less after the race this fall.

And speaking of fall, they're bringing back pumpkin spice this year! LOL! I don't imagine I'd like it, but then again maybe I should give it a shot.

I hope you all are well!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Training for my next half marathon

So I've really been neglecting this blog, haven't I? Haha!

Well, I started training for my next race, which will be the half at the Kansas City Marathon on Oct. 21.

I decided to try the Hanson's Method training program, it is quite different than the heart rate plan from Garmin. And I like it!

Significantly higher mileage on this plan, that's for sure!

Training is going well though. I haven't had any issues with injury thankfully. I did have a not very happy time with a pair of shoes last week however.

I bought a new pair of Saucony Kinvaras which wore blisters in my heels within a mile or two of going out in them for their first run.

The great folks at RunAround Joplin pointed out the new model of that shoe have a differently designed heel cup than the previous model which I believe caused those nasty blisters.

They also told me that Kinvara is only a 200 mile shoe and with my training regimen I should be in a shoe with a bit more padding. So they put me in a Saucony Ride 10, and advised me to get a half-size larger and I'm in love. Those shoes are great!

I'll try to be better at posting here, but keep in mind I post nearly every day on my Instagram account!

Be well!